A new fund will collect money in honor of Amy and Jocelyn Gannon, the Madison mother and daughter who died in a Hawaii helicopter crash while on vacation in December.
The Amy and Jocelyn Gannon Memorial Fund, announced Monday through the Doyenne Group that Amy helped found, will donate the money “directly into supporting passions of both mother and daughter,” according to a press release. That includes women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in the community, and animal and wildlife conservation.
The two are survived by Mike, Amy's husband, and 16-year-old Aaron.
Amy was well known for her own entrepreneurship, starting the Doyenne Group in 2012 to foster more women-owned businesses. Her founding partner, Heather Wentler, said Tuesday morning the fund is being "hosted by the family," and will allow the community to continue to honor the Gannons.
“The missions that Amy and Jocelyn really believed in are very important to people across this country," Wentler said. "They really believe in it and they want to be able to make sure it’s able to happen as well.”
Jocelyn was an eighth-grader at Hamilton Middle School, which held grief support hours for students upon return from winter break. Principal John Burkholder wrote in a letter to families at the time that Jocelyn was “a wonderful young person.”
The press release announcing the new fund touts Madison’s “outpouring of love, emotion and support for the Gannon family” in the month since the crash.
“Despite such a horrible tragedy, the Gannons are hoping the community can rally yet again to support noteworthy causes,” it states.
Wentler said in the business world it's easy to miss how much support the community offers when focused on day-to-day duties.
“Most days, like any entrepreneur, our heads are so down in our business," she said. “We forget to look up and realize how many people are standing behind us and supporting us and cheering us on.”
She's hopeful the funds devoted to women's entrepreneurship can help people avoid passing on professional development opportunities or paying themselves or adding an employee.
“These dollars make it a lot more accessible for us to move into new communities and also have the level of fiscal support that we need to be able to do the work that we do," Wentler said. "We’ve always said that cost shouldn’t be a hindrance for professional development to be able to make your business dreams come true."
Doyenne Group is also hosting an event at The Sylvee Friday in memory of Amy.
“Come together to share stories, memories, and how we're all going to continue the work she started,” the Facebook event page states.